Carbon Capture and Storage is a Flop… No, Its A Success!

Will carbon capture and storage ever work?

Fat chance, according to Exxon Mobil?s Energy Outlook, which noted that its high cost and the need for a regulatory framework ?presents significant challenges? beyong government-subsidized projects? in the next two decades. Pretty sour.

Actually, it works right now, Mike Morris of American Electric Power, Co. (AEP), the country?s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, tells the The Wall Street Journal today. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will allow the company to eliminate emissions from its coal-fired plants by 2025.

What gives?

Exxon?s Production Company President Rich Kruger, gave a speech yesterday at the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Qatar, staking out the middle ground between his own company?s Energy Outlook and AEP.

One particularly promising technology is carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS.? When the three primary phases of CCS ? capture, transportation and storage ? are fully integrated into power plants and industrial facilities, we can truly achieve meaningful emissions reductions. Advancements in CCS have the potential to make an impact on a global scale.

He notes that current technologies are expensive and cumbersome but, ?we are making strides.?

Maybe they?re seeing different results from R&D.

Morris tells the WSJ that the technology imposed are far lower energy penalty than expected when installed in its Mountaineer plant in West Virginia.

His expectation that the technology will cost about 4 cents per Kilowatt hour roughly squares with Exxon?s estimate of the cost.

Maybe they have different versions of what?s affordable.

Environmental Captital?s Keith Johnson speculates that Morris is trying to show early progress to policy makers in order to get them to invest heavily in clean-coal technology.

Certainly, the Energy Department has shown a willingness to fund research, annnouncing just this week that CCS was one of three areas eligible for $100 million in new research grant money.

In any case, if Shell?s Climate Change Advisor David Hone is to be believed, the world is going to have to go ?net zero emissions? in the coming decades or risk catastrophe.

So anything that gets emitted has to go in the ground.

Which is to say, CCS has to work.

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